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30 of the Best Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers on Etsy

We have been looking for things to add to this year’s Christmas list and we were struggling! Browsing the web, all the “top gift lists” seemed pretty boring and weren’t sparking any joy… We knew we had to rethink our strategy. That is when ETSY came in!

Do you remember when you were little and you circle pretty much everything in the toy advertisements? That’s how this list makes me feel! I hope you love it too.

Let’s dive in!

1. Pantone Enamel Pin

For only $8.00 you can bring your Pantone obsession to the next level with this fun Enamel pin. Pin it anywhere to sport your favorite Pantone color! Mine will definitely be going on my backpack!

⮕ Order one now.

 


2. Artsy Fartsy Comfy Tee

Did anyone else get called “Artsy Fartsy” all the time? I’m pretty sure that it could be my middle name! This cute comfy tee comes in a variety of colors and features hand-drawn type by Carly Wilkie. Spend over $35 and get free shipping!

⮕ Heck Yes, I need this!

 


3. Typography Ampersand Tee

Graphic designers LOVE their ampersands, so naturally, this had to make our list! This graphic tee features 30 variations of our favorite type character. Bonus points if you can name all the typefaces used.

⮕ Order it here.

 


4. Retro Microsoft WordArt Patch

Okay, this one genuinely makes us crack up. Perhaps your first look into “graphic design” was using these awful WordArt styles. I have to admit, my mom’s saved some of my old projects, and although advanced at my age, there were some hideous design choices I made back then. This is sure to make any designer giggle, making it the perfect gift for graphic designers.

⮕ Make everyone laugh with this patch

 


5. This is the FUTURA Tee

If you’re reading this list and you’re not a graphic designer, you could be confused by this one. FUTURA is a very popular typeface and it’s a classic design pun to say “This is the Futura”. A graphic designer would love to rock this tee!

⮕ Get your Futura Shirt Here

 


6. Handmade Ampersand Necklace

All these gifts make me SO HAPPY and this one is no exception! A handmade ampersand necklace could be the most adorable thing on this list of the best gifts for graphic designers. We love that it’s handmade too!

⮕ Order your Necklace Here

 


7. Making Cool Shit for A Living

Another funny gift that could actually appeal to more than just graphic designers, but artists and makers too! This one comes in the baseball style tee, but you could get it in a tank style too!

⮕ Order your “Making Cool Sh*t Tee”

 


8. Design-Nerd Tote Bag

Every designer needs a design-worthy bag to carry all their goodies, right? We just love illustration around here, so seeing how well this is designed makes us give it 2 thumbs up. What designer wouldn’t love receiving this at a gift? So Handy!

⮕ Order your Tote Here.

 


9. Graphic Design Nerdy Craft

Okay, we might be artsy fartsy around here, but we couldn’t resist this fun cross-stitch kit. It would be so fun to hang on the wall of your office and a real convo-starter. We feel like this is perfect for the quirky and/or crafty graphic designer.

⮕ Get your Kit here!

 


10. Overloaded on Tabs Travel Mug

Oh, Crap… maybe it’s time we come clean and admit that we have a bit of a cup/mug obsession. #sorrynotsorry. We love how this one uses an illustrative style and is actually etched into the mug. Be honest, how many of you constantly have too many tabs open and too many things “open” in your brain? Is that just a designer thing, or do a lot of people run into that? That said, we really like that it’s a travel mug which means we can add a reusable straw.

⮕ BRB, while I go order one this one in TEAL!

 


11. Photoshop Keychain

This is a great gift to be paired with something else on our awesome Graphic Designer gift idea list! It may be something small but it would definitely bring a smile to a graphic designer’s face. Heck, even a photographer would love this gift too! Everyone needs some Adobe swag in their possession.

⮕ Get it here!

 


12. Artist Power Lapel Pin

This is a great gift for an illustrator or graphic designer. It can be added to your computer bag or sport it on your pencil cases full of all your favorite pens and sketching materials. Artists unite with this ARTIST POWER pin!

⮕ I need this!

 


13. Pantone Coffee Glass Mug

Another mug that is TOTALLY worthy of our list. Both coffee-lovers and Pantone-lovers unite on this one. We also love that there’s some more options like a wine, mojito, and whiskey version. We challenge you to find a graphic artist that wouldn’t love this gift… maybe only if they don’t drink coffee!

⮕ I want it!


14. Lorem Ipsum Shirt

Lorem Ipsum is becoming a lot more popular these days. But when we were in college the concept was a little foreign! If you’re not familiar with Lorem Ipsum is placeholder text commonly used in the graphic, print, and publishing industries for previewing layouts and visual mockups. It’s a handy tool for graphic designers to layout mockups and definitely makes it a funny gift that a designer would appreciate.

⮕ Get it Here


15. These bags are designer comfy crew

This was a common phrase back when we were design students staying up all night working on projects. If you, or the designer you’re looking for a gift for, spent most days staying up working on design homework, this sweatshirt is relatable! It may also connect with those self-employed entrepreneurs out there working around the clock.

16. “I’m a designer” Hipster Tee

Classic “Graphic Tee”, right?! How fitting to have a hipster design nerd on a tee. I will say they character on this shirt is done really well! It’s pretty hipster, but also pretty spot-on!

17. Snarky Soy Candle

Now, this gift is for the sarcastic, funny, graphic designer who jokes that their job sucks (but actually loves it!). This would make a great gift for the office Christmas party or your best friend who laughs at that client who always seems to be asking for just. one. more. revision. Honestly, this gift would be hilarious for a lot of people, not just graphic artists.

⮕ Order your Snarky Soy Candle

 


18. Pantone-Inspired Muppet Decor

This particular gift would appeal to the graphic design parents out there. It’s such a fun way to decorate your child’s bedroom and starts the children off with a solid design foundation! You can select your favorite character or snag the whole set!

⮕ Take your decor next level, buy here.

 


19. Alignment Icons Poster

Here’s another pretty nerdy gift idea which some of you might not get, but a graphic designer definitely would! These are the icons used for aligning your objects in Adobe. Pretty much one of the MOST USEFUL tools in the entire Adobe toolbox. We probably use these hundreds of times in a day. What we love about this design decor is that it’s really abstract so you can nerd out about it without getting too cliche.

⮕ Aligning Print Poster

 


20. Pantone Enamel Pin

You might be sensing a pattern that we, in fact, most graphic designers, love their Pantone colors. So much so that we’ll drop 100+ on a Pantone swatchbook. Here’s a really great lapel pin the shows off your Pantone and LBGTQ Pride!

⮕ Pantone Enamel Pin

 


21. I’m Silently Judging your Font Choices Tote

A graphic designer knows this feeling all too well. The world is full of poor font choices… While some might call you out on it, others may keep their thoughts to themselves and silently judge your font choices! (Reminder: no more than 2-3 typefaces per design!)

⮕ Get your tote here!

 


22. Illustrator

We talked about bags already, but we didn’t talk about pouches to hold ALL. THE. THINGS. This little pouch is available in 3 sizes which is great and you can store all your drawing tools and/or charging cables. We hold our mouse in a little pouch like this and it’s great to know where it always is when we’re on the go!

⮕ Get your bag now!

 


23. Sweet tooth Pantone-Inspired Mug

Another Pantone gift? We know, we know… There’s just so many great options out there. This gift idea is perfect for the sweet tooth out there! Donuts, Candy, Cookies… All the yummy things!

⮕ I need this mug!

 


24. Pantone Sugar Cookies

For those of you who follow @pixelstosugar, you know that sugar cookies are Carly’s little passion project. While we’ve made a few “design” sets, we’ve never actually done Pantone cookies! (We’ll be sure to update this when we do) BUT you can now get the ultimate Graphic Designer cookies on etsy and it would make a perfect gift for any Pantone lovers out there.

⮕ Get some yummy Pantone Cookies

 


25. Pro-craft-inator Pin

We’re really digging enamel pins these days AND there are a few of our favorites in this list of gifts for graphic designers. This pun-ny pin makes us giggle thinking about all the designers who are procrastinators. Let me tell you, success under pressure really does exist!

⮕ I need this! I’m a Pro-craft-inator!

 


26. Creative Juice Enamel Pin

Let’s keep this enamel pin party going with this “Creative Juice” cutie. We love to add pins to our laptop bag to give it a little character, so we feel like you can never have enough pins. Or you could also use them as tacks on your bulletin board!

⮕ Get your Creative Juice flowing!

 


27. Ampersand – Risograph print

Another Ampersand piece that we love… This Risograph print is artfully done and will be a nice statement piece on your wall!

⮕ Order your Ampersand Print

 


28. Illustrator Street Sign

We think this would be a really great addition to your swanky agency flat, your in-need-of-a-refresh cubicle, or even your home office. Street signs can be seen everywhere, but wouldn’t it be cool to have an illustrator sign?

⮕ Get your Illustrator Street Sign

 


 

29. Creative Juice Wine Glass

A graphic designer can NOT live without their creative juices! Figuratively, but also… we love our wine! If you know a graphic designer who loves wine, this gift would be perfect for them!

⮕ Order yours here

 


29. Brass Letterpress Charm Necklace

All the typographers will flock when they see this fun and unique gift! Ya’ll we LOVE this necklace, we’ve never seen such a lovely thing in such a little package. You can choose which letter, or ampersand, you’d like and you can even get in customized if you’d like! If you buy one, please tag us so we can see how cute it is!

⮕ I need this Necklace

 


 

If you know of any good items we missed, let us know and we’ll add some bonus “Reader’s Picks” at the end!

 

Did you love our list? Be sure to Pin it to your Pinterest account!

 

 

 

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About Sprout Studio’s Web Design Process

Ever wonder what the web design process is like? We’ll walk you through what our main steps are. Get to know how we’ll build your site.

WordPress Website Process

1. We’ll kick off with a website questionnaire.

This is some simple homework for you to get a feel for what you’re looking for. This will allow you to answer some questions for us so that we can provide you with a great website. (Some sample questions… Who is your audience? How do people typically get to your site? What are they looking for when they get there? Etc.)

2. We’ll ask you for some websites that you like for inspiration.

There are so many websites out there, and because everyone has different wants/needs/styles, we ask for these to help us narrow in on who you are and what your goals for the website are.

3. We’ll create a mockup of your website’s homepage.

Using a design program, Adobe Illustrator, we can lay out what we’ve envisioned for your site. This is where we can lay out things such as where’s the logo placed, what links are in the menu, or what’s in the footer. Sprout will design it and you will have a chance to provide feedback before we get into the development of the site. Typically we’ll do one revision before heading to WordPress.

4. We will set up a development site on WordPress.

During this time, we’ll keep your current site live until the new site is finished. We will develop the new site on our server and make changes there. As soon as we’re ready for the launch. We will migrate your new site into your domain and it will be live for the world to see.

5. After the launch, we will get together for a WordPress training.

We will take you behind the scenes and teach you how to do some basic edits to your site. During this time, we’ll also teach you some basics about SEO and keeping Wordpress up to date as well.

6. From here, our job is done.

You should have a beautiful new site and what you’ll need to attract customers as well as sign in and make edits as needed.

Learn more on our https://sprout-studio.com/services/wordpress-web-design/

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What is a Vector?

If you’re in marketing, small business, or a creative field, you’ve probably heard the term VECTOR thrown around. You might have been totally lost by what this means. As a graphic design studio, we use vector EVERY DAY… not even exaggerating, we LOVE them.

BUT… What if you’re not a designer and you have someone telling you that you NEED a vector logo. Wel, in this case,e you might be totally confused, but rest assured you’ve come to the right spot! We’re here to help you learn what it is and why its important. It’s a tricky concept to digest, but we’ve created an infographic for you that should hopefully make it easier to understand.

I’ll run through the basics quickly before you dive into the graphic. Google Dictionary describes VECTOR as “a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”. Similarly, in graphic design, we use the term “vector” to refer to a graphic created with anchor points, lines, and angles which work together to form shapes. The elements of the design use their relativity to one another to create the shapes of your design. Because of the geometry behind it, you can scale shapes as large as you want without losing quality. Whether your design is one inch or one mile long, these relative mathematic equations stay the same, allowing your lines and curves to stay crisp and clear.

There’s a lot of mathematics behind it, and although we loved math in high school, that knowledge has definitely diminished [probably to retain more knowledge about fonts, lol]. If you want to read the brainy details behind it, click on this link: https://www.intmath.com/vectors/math-vector-art.php.

So thanks to the fabulously smart people of the world, they figured out how to use their math skills to create vector graphics in programs like Adobe Illustrator. Praise the lord — this means we’re able to make awesome designs without thinking about math!

Let’s take a look at the graphic below.


As you may have already noticed, vectors are the type of thing that makes us giddy… yep, you can call us design-nerds, WE ARE.

What it comes down to is… A vector graphic is created with lines, curves, and points. These all combine together to make something that is completely scalable. As they grow and shrink, they don’t cause pixelation because they aren’t made of those pixels/dots. The lines, curves, and anchors create a mathematical relationship to each other, so as they scale, they maintain the same equations.

So the most important thing you take away from this post is this: VECTOR graphics are scalable!

This is why we ALWAYS tell our clients and pretty much everyone we know, you need to have vector logo files. They are so important… To read more about our post on what type of logo files you need, you can read our post, 6 Logo Types You Need.

 

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Get to know your file formats

Ever wondered why there are so many file formats? Each type has its own features and there’s a place for all of them in the design world.The reason we really wanted to share is because we often see people who don’t understand the differences between file types and/or are often not supplied with what they need. In today’s post, we’re going to go through six formats you will encounter most often and what the differences between them are.

Let’s dig in…

JPG – Joint Photographic Experts Group

All right, let’s start with the most common file type. This would be a JPEG. I’m guessing that you have heard of a JPEG before or maybe you’ve just seen those three or four letters at the end of your file. This is the most common type of file seen across the board. JPEG’s are often used in many ways… they can be for logos, images, infographics, and much more.

JPEG is a handy file type because it can be in CMYK or RGB. These different color types are important to know whether or not your graphic will be on the web, or printed. The advantage of the JPEG is it so versatile and anyone can open it. Another benefit of the JPEG’s that you can reduce the size of the graphic if you are using it for a website. You can have a very large image, reduce the quality, and this allows for a quicker page load on your website (good for user experience and SEO!).

The disadvantage is that it loses quality over time. Unfortunately, another disadvantage is a JPEG cannot be transparent. This is really important when you’re getting logo files because a JPEG cannot be placed onto a color background without the hideous white box around it. Please don’t do this! (This leads us to our next format…)

USE IF: You want some quick and easy, image quality isn’t as important.

PNG – Portable Network Graphics

Our next file is a ping, also known as a PNG. And the design we’re on some people refer to it as a ping file, while others use PNG. You may hear them both versions, but they are the same. It’s like a “bubbler” or a “drinking fountain”. A PNG is a really handy file type because it allows for transparency. As we mentioned before that hideous white box around your logo, can be avoided by using a PNG. They also tend to have higher file sizes compared to the same file as a JPG. So keep this in mind as you’re designing on the web if you don’t need transparency go ahead and use the JPEG. Another important thing to note is that PNGs are always RGB, because pings are often used as digital graphics, such as social media graphics, web elements, or PowerPoint presentations.

USE IF: You need a transparent background.

PDF – Portable Document Format

Our next most common file type you’ll encounter is the PDF. It’s possibly the most versatile file format in our opinion and used very often in our business. Often we will use a PDF to show proofs to our clients and often times these are the final files we send to a printer as well.  One of the really great things about PDFs is that you can save them at different qualities. When we send large files off for a client proof, we can reduce the size so that we can email them. (Pro Tip: Most email systems limit file scaring to 25 MB, If you have to send something larger, we suggest www.wetransfer.com) When it’s time to send the final art files to a printer, we can still save the same PDF as a high-resolution print file. Love technology!

PDF’s have so many great features, the list goes on. They are also great for applications and forms because you can have fillable fields that allow users to type in information. Another benefit of PDF’s is that you can embed links. This means if you’re sending a file to a customer, you can link your URL, your email address, a download button, and much more! One of the biggest features of a PDF that designers use daily is the markup capabilities. Clients are able to add little sticky notes to your files to note revisions and/or text corrections. It can be such a helpful tool to use.

Lastly, a PDF is SO VERSATILE that you can use almost any program and output as PDF.  This allows it to be so wide-spread and also allows for anyone to open it on their own computer.

USE IF: You want something easy to share or sending to someone for review.

EPS – Encapsulated PostScript

The next file type we are going to discuss is an EPS. An EPS is a really important file type in the design world, because this saves your files with all the vectors. (Not sure what a vector is? New post coming soon!) And EPS is often used as the universal file for vector graphics. This file type can be opened only programs used to read vector files, but the importance of maintaining the vector art. If you’re sending a logo to a designer, this is what they will like to have. You’ll also use a vector file if you’re sending your logo to a printer for things like screen printing T-shirts, making promotional materials, or signage for your business. Another similar file type for designers is an .AI file. This is Adobe Illustrator’s version of the EPS and has a few more customizations within. However, it’s not a helpful file type for someone who does not have Adobe Illustrator.

USE IF: You want to maintain your vector points or need something that’s scalable.

SVG – Scalable Vector Graphic

Another file type is an SVG. This is another great web file because it allows for scaling on the website. In the world of responsive web design ability to scale a graphic is really important. And SVG is kind of like a blend of a JPEG and a EPS.  This file type is relatively new to the design world, and you’re starting to see it more and more.  Many web and graphic designers like to use SVGs on their designs so that they can scale without pixelization.

USE IF: You want vector graphics on the web.

TIFF – Tagged Image Format File

Another file type which will talk about is the TIFF. A TIFF file is similar to a JPEG, but is often used for higher resolution photos and can have more features. For example, a TIFF file can have layers in it. This is important for someone working in Photoshop and would like to maintain their file layers. (Sidenote: layers are used in Photoshop to layer elements on top of each other. For example, if you’re looking at a graphic it would have a background layer, content layers, perhaps text, and commonly some layers for color correcting and/or photo editing.) The TIF file type comes in handy when you want to send a file to someone who does not have Photoshop, but you still want to maintain the editable layers. Is “editable” a real word? IDK, but we use it a lot. lol…  And another file type that goes along with the TIFF, is a PSD file. This is basically an Adobe Photoshop file and can maintain it’s layers but can only be opened by those with Photoshop.

USE IF: You have a large photograph or layers.

So there you have it! Is your brain ready to explode? Sorry, we tried to make it as easy as possible, but there’s a lot to know. Hope this helps, happy designing!

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How did we get started freelancing? Our Story, Part 1

How did we get started?

I don’t think I’ve ever received any question more than this one. So we’re here today to answer the question everyone’s been asking. Every entrepreneur or freelance graphic designer has a different story and that’s why we’re excited to share with you our story, and how we came to be. Read on to hear “part 1” of our story…

It’s funny, when I graduated college, I always used to dream about running my own shop. But I was in college, young, and had no clue what that meant… Our friends and classmates were always chatting about how cool it would be to run our own studios. We often thought about what life would be like and how much fun it would be to work on creative projects and run the show. It was always a dream, but never really knew how to execute it or where life would take us.

The college I attended, UWSP, had an amazing design conference every year called NowHere. Through NowHere our dreams starting to flourish. We got to see amazing designers across America (and Internationally) doing what they love and making a living at it. Some of these designers work for large well-known agencies while others were entrepreneurs and running their own business. It was always inspiring to see what creatives were doing in the real world and it was always something we looked up to.  I learned so much from the NowHere Conference (and UWSP in general)…we were just a small design school, but it was an amazing blessing that we were able to bring in famous designers. #unbelievable. This is where my entrepreneurial daydreaming began.

After graduation, I decided to take a little break and went on a mini vacation to see a good friend who lived in Reno, Nevada. Being fresh out of college the world was my playground.  I decided it was important to take some time to myself before I went out into the world. Knowing the time would come and I’d have no time for vacations and real life became all too real.  I took a three-week vacation to visit my friend Dorothy and we had so much fun hiking, my first (and only) time snowboarding, and visiting some really awesome spots. Yet, the best part of all was that I was going to see my good friend who happened to be a year older than me, and also a designer from UWSP. She was the best, and I had always looked up to her as a mentor and friend.

We had such a blast, and it was great spending time with another designer and close friend. I took the time to enjoy myself and didn’t think about job hunting until my return…

When I got back to Wisconsin, it was time to start filling out applications and sending out resumes. I was a bit selective in what I was applying for because I knew that I had a good talent and design strengths. (perhaps also a bit stubborn and didn’t want to settle :P)

I met with a talent agency called C2  that focuses on people in the creative field. As part of their process, I had to go in for an interview and also take a design program evaluation.  I’m naturally a pretty shy person so interviews always intimidated me,  however, I knew that to have the most success I had to be myself.  What I was really terrified of, was the design test. We went through a series of questions and different Adobe programs. When finished I found out that I was doing pretty good! The man who was running the test had said that students out of Stevens point always scored well on the program testing (yay, UWSP!).

I had gotten a couple inquiries about job positions through C2. One position, in particular, sounded really interesting, AND was in my hometown! The next week was a whirlwind… On Monday, I had heard about the job. Tuesday, I had sent in my application. Wednesday, was my interview. Thursday, I excepted the job.  And Friday, was my first day.

Having a full-time job was an interesting experience that I learned a lot from, but this company was just not for me. I got to work on some incredible projects, meet incredible people, but eventually knew I’d move on.

While freelancing on the side, I had always dreamed of something bigger, and something better…

Then one day, life changed forever. I got word that I was being let go.

Was I excited? Was I pissed? To be honest I wasn’t really sure.

But what I did know, is that this was meant to be, and I had no excuse but to launch myself headfirst into the freelancing world. Later discovering what would become my dream, Sprout Studio, LLC.

Was I terrified?  Heck yes. Did I know what I was doing? Not entirely.…

I begin building up my freelancing work and started to get the word out that I was freelancing full-time. Ideally,  it would have been really helpful to start building this up ahead of time and saving up for the leap of faith. (Not to mention I had just purchased a brand new car… not the smartest investment if I had known I’d be jobless months later.)

I started reaching out to people in the industry I already knew… a lot of them are still clients today and we love dearly.

After about a month, I was contacted by my good friend, Kayla, who is working in New York City. They were looking for a freelance designer to help with packaging for the NUK brand products. Seemed pretty crazy right? Could I really move to New York for a couple months and work for a national brand in The Big Apple? We were excited to try!

Within two weeks my bags were packed, and I was on my way to New York City!

I had never been, I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but I was so excited for this experience and was so blessed that life had led me here.

Working with NUK, literally changed my life. It was the launching pad for my career. I was able to work directly with the marketing team and one of my best friends — A dream come true!! While navigating the ins-and-outs of product packaging, we jumped into some product graphics, which later became the first designs we had on the shelf. (see excited Carly photo below) Working with Kayla and NUK, I was also able to hone my skills in Illustrator. I quickly became obsessed with the program and honed my digital illustration and iconography abilities.

We loved working in the baby industry, even today, we love designing for children!

What happens next!? Stay tuned to find out!

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Sprout’s Process for Print Design Projects

Wondering what our process is like for our client’s graphic design projects?

You’ve come to the right spot. We’ve created this easy to follow roadmap just for you! Follow along as we walk through the steps of a graphic design process for print collateral and other marketing pieces. The process is pretty simple but this will at least give you an idea of what to expect.

 

Thanks for checking out our infographic on the design process for print projects. We hope it was informative and helped you understand the timeline.

Stay tuned for future posts where we will talk about the web design process.

Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide

 

We are a huge advocate of shopping local this holiday season. So to celebrate the holiday season we’ve put together an incredible list of 10 ideas to put on your christmas list or to give to others. Our list is comprised of local entrepreneurs selling fantastic goods (things you’ll probably want year round). Please take some time to look at the list and if you’re interested in buying, which you probably will be, all the information is included.

 

Our first artist on the list is The Felt Whisperer. The name says it all! She makes the most fantastic gift bringing a new life to this childhood crafting essential. All her work is carefully crafted and looks so great. Jessica, the woman behind the brand, makes the most adorable wreaths, the white and gold “Joy” is my absolute favorite. She so makes homemade sock puppets (SO CUTE!) and these custom Pennants. I featured this “HOME” one because we’re featuring our #shoplocal theme, but she also makes colorful ones custom to your desired name. Check out her etsy shop because there’s so many cute gift ideas to purchase there.

 

Pottery holds a special place in my heart because I was very into ceramics in high school. And my teacher (Shout out to Mr. Losey) had a major influence on the person I am today. Mostly because he went to UW-Stevens Point and suggested it as I was looking for colleges to pursue my graphic design education… I will spare you all the details which I will save for a later post, but needless to say, I went there and it was the best thing in my life and would recommend it 150%.
But anyways!! Imago Dei Pottery is creating some gorgeous work! She’s creating these stunning pieces out of her garage! Huge props to her and her work. They have so many fun options on their etsy page. I want one of everything. How incredible is that hanging succulent planter? I also was excited to feature her ring holders which are so nice, and for the holiday they almost look like little christmas trees. Very chic.

 

I’m guessing that a lot of my followers are into art, well, US TOO! This gift will be perfect for you! DVINci Box is a local startup subscription box where you get everything you need for an art project in the box. An art class at the convenience of your own home? That sounds pretty fantastic! The pricing offers a few different options and you can buy based on herself, or get a group together to work on it. Ladies Night Anyone?

 

Okay… These tees are one of my favorites. The different designs from ReKindled will make you wanting one of each. As a continuation of the fun ReKindled spirit, these shirts not only sport unique sayings, but they were also designed to look and feel “vintage”. The cotton/poly blend provides an amazingly soft and comfy feel. I LOVE the “Dream Bigger” one, this is something I always think about with my business AND my personal lifestyle. She’s just starting out and taking orders through Facebook, so be sure to contact her today.

 

How great are these designs from The Tin Owl?! This is such a fun way to incorporate the vintage grudge of these old license plates with a modern chic style. I will most certainly be getting a Wisconsin design for my home. They sell all the designs in all the states, in case you’re interested in another state. The designs can also be found on different products, such as cards, pillows, magnets, tea towels, etc.

 

MollyKate Design is selling beautiful calligraphy pieces on wood and prints that you can frame. She has a great style and her calligraphy is beautiful. Take a look at her etsy shop and you’ll see she has some great holiday decor (although it’s selling fast!) and other decor that can be displayed year round. For example, this monogram design which she can make with whatever letter you choose. These will make a great gift for anyone into the shabby chic artistic style.

 

Casa & Co has the most adorable handmade heirlooms, perfect for your home or gifting. They are made in small batches by block-printing each design with vintage typography blocks. It really makes the typography nerd in me so happy. Handmade in her Madison studio, each item is truly unique and the quality is made to last. She has so many fun and witty sayings that you’ll be sure to find one for everyone on your list. I personally LOVE the “ten thousand goodnight kisses” and the “maybe later…” one. As they say, “Supes Cute”

 

I have been obsessed with Lovely Retro Renos since the first time I laid my eyes on these gorgeous floral masterpieces. Totally girly and totally cute! She’s well known for these wooden states with the floral over, a perfect blend of my girly side and my badger state love. She sells a variety of products featuring these floral patterns (Yes! There’s pattern options!) including little boxes, coasters, clippy frames, and more. And again, available in other states, not just Wisconsin. You can order online at her etsy shop, or she sells her art at Booth 121 in Monona, WI.

 

ShadeTreeNaturals is a Small Batch, Artisan Home and Body Products brought to you from Sun Prarie, Wisconsin. These handcrafted naturals by Tara will make a great gift this holiday season. Shade Tree Living is all about living a simple, natural life! They provide body and home products that promote a healthy, natural lifestyle. She has a line of snowflakes, christmas trees, and more! I for one can’t wait to get my hands on the Peppermint Snowflake Soap. What a great stocking Stuffer!

 

Because gift giving isn’t always about physical gifts, I wanted to add a little bonus holiday idea for you. Lady Forward Tea Celebrations is a local company that crafts a personalized tea party experience that you’ll never forget, complete with all the planning, preparations, and supplies you need. You could plan a party with a group of your closest friends that will make the holidays extra special. OR you could attend one of her pop-ups events which could easily be added to your christmas wish list. She has a New Years Eve celebration coming up that you won’t want to miss!

 

 

 

I hope that gives you some great ideas for you to #shoplocal this holiday season. I encourage you to add these items to your holiday wish list as well as purchase them for friends and family gifts. They provide a much more personal touch than that tempting Amazon Prime option :)

Branding Broad Moodboard

We are so passionate about branding that we want to start our journey with some discovery and research on who you are.  After we have a firm handle on this, we can start the design process. We’ll create a moodboard for your brand, then get into sketching and your logo design, and continue the creativity with matching marketing pieces (letterhead, business cards, social media, email signatures, website, etc).

Mood Board

What is a mood board? A mood board is a visual representation of your brand. This is how we love to start off our logo projects. It is a compilation of pictures, typography, patterns, and colors the evoke the style of your brand. It’s a great way to lay out the visuals of a brand and communicate a clear style. When creating your logo, marketing pieces, or your website, we can look back at the mood board and ask ourselves, “Does this fit with our brand?”

 

 

Images are found online. Working on getting all the source links posted.

 

Type Tuesdays featuring Emily Sikora

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a recent grad from UW-Stevens Point with my BFA in Graphic Design, but am from the small town of Cary, Illinois. In my design work, I love designing experiences that keep the end user in mind. I often incorporate hand-lettering and illustration to achieve a fun and often “whimsical” aesthetic in the finished product. I also love photography, dogs, and spending time with my family and friends.
When did you first discover your love for hand-drawn typography?
I became interested in hand drawn type at the end of my senior year of high school in my graphic design class. I had listened to a Design Matters podcast where they interviewed Jessica Hische, and I looked up her work and what she did looked like a lot of fun, so I wanted to try it myself!
How much time do you send on a design?
It all depends on the design. Some designs I can sketch out in a half hour, others take multiple hours. More complex, highly detailed designs take me a lot longer. Digitizing my lettering usually takes me just as long as the sketching does.
Being a graphic designer, do you try to incorporate hand-type into all you projects?
In the majority of my projects, yes! I love using hand-drawn type when I can. However, there are some projects where a hand-drawn aesthetic wouldn’t be the most fitting.
Is there anyone in particular who has had a great influence on your style?
Mary Kate McDevitt is a lettering artist whose work I really admire, and her work definitely influences my own style. She wrote a book called the “Hand-Lettering Ledger” which has been a great resource for me to better understand hand-lettering, and the vast variety of typographic styles. I often find myself inspired by some of her letterforms and compositions, and then add my own spin on it by adding different patterns and details.
Stroll us through one of your favorite pieces.
I designed a board game called Considerate Kingdom that teaches children the benefits of being generous. In the game, players all start off in their own kingdom and as they navigate their game boards, they have the opportunity to grow their kingdom by helping others. Whoever has the most prosperous kingdom at the end of the game wins. This is one of my favorite projects because I was able to design a whole system and incorporate hand lettering and illustration throughout the almost every element of the game.
Best advice you can give to someone looking to start hand type?
Honestly, just practice and sketch everyday! Everyone has to start somewhere. It’s so cool to see how much you can improve over time if you just keep at it… I’ve definitely seen improvements in my own lettering over the past 3 years. Find inspiration in other lettering artists, and practice drawing letters that have a similar style to the work you admire. I’ve given myself lots of little “letter a day” challenges that have helped too.  Instagram has a great community of lettering artists too, and there are many accounts that have daily/weekly lettering challenges. The @handletteredabcs is a great account on Instagram with weekly challenges and an encouraging community.
Any tricks to share about digitizing your work?
Once I have a finished sketch, I digitize it in Illustrator. If I have a super detailed piece, I will scan it in at 600ppi, but more often, I usually just take a picture of it on my iPhone, and that works just fine. I edit the contrast in Photoshop so that all the linework is solid black, and then I bring it into Illustrator and Image Trace it using the “Sketched Art” setting. I will adjust the threshold until I get the amount of details that I want. After that, I expand it so all the lettering becomes editable vectors. Lastly, I smooth out the anchor points using the “Smooth” tool in Illustrator. If I want the lettering to have a more polished look, I will pen tool over the letters.
What does the future hold for you and your type?
I plan on keeping myself busy with various lettering and illustration projects this summer, while looking for career opportunities around the Midwest.

Uncover Something New

I’m really excited to share my moodboard for an upcoming project! I was so inspired by my niece who LOVES to paint and knew that watercolor would be an important element in my next branding project. I’m also really excited for these bright pops of color, I can’t help but be drawn to this energetic color pallet.

Here it is folks! – I can’t wait to reveal more, and of coarse, uncover the finished product!

 

Uncovered Moodboard | Sprout Studio

Moodboard image sources: Limes | Pink Room | Watercolor Alphabet | Love never gives up | Floral Bouquet | Ampersand | Watermelon Notebook